A matter of BBC Trust

And still the fallout from the Brand/Ross affair rains down…

For those who don’t know, the BBC Trust – henceforth referred to as the Trust in this entry – is a body set up to act as a watchdog and protect the license payers’ interests; although I’ll leave it up to you to decide if it does or not.

After a pretty clear statement that anyone involved in editorial decision-making re the Brand show failed to edit anything, the Trust chairman goes on to say something I find quite surprising:

“Mr Tait said the offence of the original broadcast was compounded by Russell Brand’s appearance on Chris Moyles’s Radio 1 show on 21 October, when the pair talked about the incident.

He said this discussion, in itself, was also in breach of editorial guidelines in respect of privacy, offence and the fact it was broadcast at a time when children were likely to be listening.”

So, it’s the children now, is it?

OK, Mr Tait, how come I could tune into an afternoon play on Radio 4 the weekend before last and hear someone say the word ‘shit’?

Or is it one rule for culture on the radio and another for ‘that edgy youth’ stuff? Is this the clear thinking we need from the Trust?

Now, I don’t give a rat’s how much swearing there is on the TV and radio – the required equipment has an ‘off’ button and they’re only words after all – but what I do care about is decisions being made on my behalf as to what I can or cannot hear on my radio or TV based on a wholly inconsistent policy.

It gets even muddier when you take into account other stations on the BBC radio network.

It seems to be a given that there is no swearing allowed on late night Radio 5 phone ins, for example.

So, let me get this clear…

1) You can’t say ‘fuck’ on Radio 2 after 9pm.

2) You can say ‘shit’ on Radio 4 before 5pm.

3) You can’t say ‘fuck’ or ‘shit’ on Radio 5 at anytime.

4) (Bit of a grey area this) You can’t refer to someone saying ‘fuck’ on Radio 1 before 9pm.

I think I’ve got that right.

I was going to add a number 5) involving Radio 3 saying that you can say ‘shit’, ‘fuck’ and even ‘c*nt’* on there because no-one listens anyway, but that would be facetious.

Seriously though, no wonder there’s all sorts of fuss over this issue – no-one really knows what’s permitted.

So, here we go – my idea to sort this all out once and for all.

Times have changed, so introduce a 10pm watershed that applies to all broadcasting. After that time, until 5am, allow any swearing at all – anything goes. If people know that they’re going to be offended between 10pm and 5am then they can switch off or turn over and any parent who allows their child to hear swearing after the 10 o’clock watershed has only themselves to blame. We can’t carry on kowtowing to the ignorant and ineffectual all the time.

All I want is some consistency so that I can be treated like an adult.

Is that really too much to ask?

*Yes, I know I censored myself, but it’s my blog.


One Response

  1. Totally agree with the blanket 10pm watershed.

    I think the difference between the Radio 4 play and the Brand/Ross programme is that the Daily Mail only got in a froth about the lather. The seeming mobilisation of Middle England can cause government ministers and senior public servants to act like headless chickens.

    I assume the HateMail readers find Radio 4 so challenging, they’ve never listened long enough to hear any swearing 😉

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